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 January 07, 2003
Hong Kong 2003 Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Parade

 The Year of the Goat will be welcomed in spectacular style at the Tamar Site in Hong Kong as a host of elaborate floats and performing groups from around the world add an extra dimension to the 2003 Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Parade. The parade, under the theme of Celebrate Life, is a major programme of the City of Life: Hong Kong is it! tourism campaign.

Advance details of the parade, which will be staged on the first day of Lunar New Year, 1 February 2003, were announced (6 January) by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB). The briefing session, held at Times Square, Causeway Bay, was led by the HKTB?s Executive Director Clara Chong and Cathay Pacific Airways Director and Chief Operating Officer Philip Chen, together with representatives of float sponsors.

Ms Chong remarked that according to HKTB?s surveys, around 26% of visitors interviewed were interested in traditional Chinese festivities. "As Chinese New Year is the festival that best represents Hong Kong's special appeal as the Events Capital of Asia, each year the HKTB proactively promotes related activities around this period, with the Chinese New Year Parade as the focus," she said. "We know that the response to our promotions has been very positive. Travel agents in a number of markets, such as the United States, Europe and Japan, have been packaging special tours that include Chinese New Year related celebrations and events. In anticipation of this response we have reserved some 1,500 seats for visitors at the Tamar Site," Ms Chong remarked.

For the fifth successive year, Cathay Pacific Airways is the parade's title sponsor. "Cathay Pacific is delighted to be able to demonstrate its continued commitment to Hong Kong as "Asia's World City" by once again acting as title sponsor for the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Parade," said the company's Director and Chief Operating Officer Mr Philip Chen. "It is an honour for us to help bring performers and visitors from all over the world to share the joy of the Lunar New Year celebrations with all Hong Kong people."

There are five sub-themes under the main theme of the parade "Celebrate Life", namely Style, Vitality, Harmony, Tradition and Future. To showcase Chinese and international elements, the parade will feature 12 international and local floats and 13 international and 25 local performing groups.

Performances at the Tamar Site will take on a new "location-based format" this year. In each session, performers will stream into the central stage from different directions. Spectators at the venue will be able to enjoy ongoing interactive performances taking place on three sides of the stage. To spice up the festive atmosphere further, giant LED screens will be erected at Lung Wui Road and Convention Avenue to capture the excitement taking place at the Tamar Site.

Of the 12 floats, four of them are built on bus chassis that provide a larger area for more innovative designs. One of the international floats, sponsored by Hong Kong Disneyland, is especially likely to impress the audience. In keeping with Hong Kong's reputation as a living fusion of East and West, international performing groups have been invited from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The launch ceremony is scheduled to take place at 2:00 pm on 1 February. The parade will set off from the Tamar Site in Central and wend its way along Lung Wui Road and Fenwick Pier Street to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre before returning by the same route to Tamar. The length of the route is around two kilometres and the whole event will last about one-and-a-half hours.

There will be spectator seating for visitors and local residents at the Tamar Site. Tickets valued at HK$200 or HK$100 each will be on sale starting from 13 January at the HKTB's Visitor Information and Services Centres at The Center in Central and Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Visitors can also view the procession free of charge along the parade route, alongside Hong Kong residents who always turn out in force for this great family occasion. More than 280,000 spectators lined the parade route last year. The best vantage points include Harbour Road, Convention Avenue and Fenwick Pier Street. Spectators can view the performances at Tamar on giant LED boards erected at Lung Wui Road and Convention Avenue.

The event will be televised live in Hong Kong on Television Broadcasts Limited's (TVB) Jade Channel between 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm, following a special programme at 1:30 pm that will introduce features of the parade. Internet users worldwide can also enjoy the show via simultaneous transmission on the HKTB's Web site at DiscoverHongKong.com. As in previous years, Shanghai TV will provide coverage through its satellite channel to around 1,300 local TV stations across the Chinese Mainland, while TVBI Company Limited will relay the event to different parts of the world, reaching an audience of hundreds of millions.

Those who would like an even closer look at the floats can visit the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Fiesta at the Tamar Site on 2 February (second day of the Year of the Goat), when the elaborately decorated floats will again be on public display between noon and 7:00 pm. Some of the international performing groups will further entertain the audience from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

In addition to the parade, the HKTB is bringing together other celebratory programmes during this period, such as the flower markets, a firework display on 2 February, the Lunar New Year horseracing on 3 February and an international football tournament on 1 and 4 February. Details of these events will be included in a Chinese New Year Celebrations and Activities Guide available at the HKTB?s Visitor Information and Services Centres. During Chinese New Year, this publication and other useful travel information will also be distributed by the HKTB?s staff at various entry points. This is being done to demonstrate the multi-dimensional travel experience available, so that visitors will be encouraged to enjoy more activities during their stay in Hong Kong.

The HKTB has invited nearly 50 international media guests to cover the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Parade and related activities to promote Hong Kong's unique Chinese New Year festivities.

This will be the eighth year that the HKTB has organised the Chinese New Year Parade, since its inauguration in 1996. The event has established an international reputation and has made Hong Kong the focus city for Lunar New Year celebrations among Chinese communities around the world, Ms Chong noted. "In the 2002 parade, the global publicity value totalled around HK$180 million, a truly rewarding return and more than 50% growth over the previous year," she remarked.

Highlighting Hong Kong's living fusion of different cultures with a combination of Chinese artistry and international elements, the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Parade is a major programme of the City of Life: Hong Kong is it! tourism campaign. The tourism campaign is organised by the HKTB in co-operation with the Hong Kong SAR Government?s Home Affairs Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Tourism Commission, with the support of the 18 District Councils and with The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust as Principal Sponsor.